“From the Cross one does not come down, one is taken down.”

March 10, 2018

If you want to reign with Christ then overcome passions. There is no other way. What is happening to you now is nothing other than temptation....


Life according to the commandments of Christ is truly Golgotha. He who has set out on this path must overcome all the ever-increasing difficulties through prayer, and if he gives up and turns back, there where he returns to, that is, the world (i.e. life in accordance with the passions) he will not find the joy felt by worldly people who have not known God.

 

During the last Great War, often, when the authorities sent soldiers on attack, they placed machine guns at the rear of the ones going forward, or an officer walked with a revolver in each hand, to shoot anyone showing lack of spirit, or ready to give up. So as a consequence, for the soldiers on the attack, salvation and life were ahead, provided that they defeat the enemy. For us monks the situation is similar. Our salvation, in every sense of the word, is only to be found ahead of us.

 

When the tribulations of my soul continually increased, and seemed to reach their apogee, then I understood, not by abstract philosophical reasoning, but with living and deep feeling of the heart, the value of the human soul, that it is more precious than the whole world. Sufferings bring such great fruit that if we were wiser we would not want to ‘come down from the Cross’. The Lord once appeared to one of our hieromonks as he slept; He was nailed to the Cross, and He said, ‘From the Cross one does not come down, one is taken down.’ And the Lord repeated these words three times. After that the vision ceased.

-Archimandrite Sophrony, Striving for Knowledge of God (here)

 

Only God knows what every one of us should go through. And not only should we get prepared for it but also look forward to it with joy. Because this is our glory.

 

The cross is glory for Christ. Similarly, for the men of God any given suffering, any given injustice, any given pain for the love of God, is glory, too.

 

At the time when you are treated unfairly, you suffer. You may not be beaten up, but at the time when you are harmed, your soul is in pain. If you are beaten up physically, the pain you suffer may be a lot less than the heartache, the spiritual pain. Still, look forward to this injustice against you with joy and thank God because this is the way man’s soul is glorified...

 

Brethren, I want you to believe me. Some of us may have a “but” inside them; this is no good. You may have the worst of the things, be it hereditary or of a different cause. In the long run, it will be to your benefit, if you take things the right way.

 

If your complaint and tantrum get out of the way, if, these go, and I mean the very fact that you put the blame elsewhere, humility and salvation come.

 

Why do you put the blame of your condition on something else? Because you want to salvage your ego and you don’t even realize it.

 

Some people have been so utterly devastated in this life, that they believe they have no pride. Yet, precisely their stubbornness, their state of non-repentance, their complaint, their conviction that it’s somebody else’s fault, reveals a fierce ego, an ego without humility.

 

As soon as we become humble, as soon as we get rid of whatever grudges we may be bearing, as soon as we repent, salvation instantly comes. Man is saved. These words are true.

-Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos (here)

 

The way of God from the beginning of time and from the creation of the human race has been the way of the cross and death. How did you get your idea that everything is just the opposite? You must realize that you are outside the way of God, that you are far from Him, that you do not wish to walk in the steps of the saints, but want to make some special way for yourself and travel by it without sufferings. The way of God is a daily cross. No one has climbed to heaven by living a life of pleasure.

-St Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Arena (here)

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